How Are Your Soft Skills?

by Krantcents · 36 comments

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If your soft skills are not up to snuff, you better work on them! If you are a doctor, dentist or surgeon, your technical skills could mean life or death!  Does it matter, if these individuals treat you well?  Soft skills are personality traits, social graces, communication, language, personal habits, friendliness and optimism that characterize relationships with other people.

You need technical skills to perform your job or career.  In fact, you want your heart surgeon to have superior technical skills.  Unfortunately, technical skills are not enough!  You want answers to your questions, someone who will listen and treat you as though you are important.  Finding a good doctor is important, but you want one with good technical and soft skills.  Soft skills are what employers want most.   Soft skills are predictors of success in the workplace

Employers are looking for the brightest and best employees!  Wouldn’t you like to work for Apple or Google?  Do you have the skills and knowledge? They set the bar very high and there is a lot of competition.  It is a little like getting into Harvard or Yale.  If that is all it took, those companies would only recruit at those schools and take only the top 10%.  I am sure that many of the candidates come from schools like those, but there is much more to this than that. Soft skills are essential to job success!

Soft skills encompass basic skills, people skills, personal qualities and thinking skills.  The Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) was appointed by the Secretary of Labor to determine the skills young people need to succeed in their career.  Although the emphasis is on education to prepare young people for the work place, this is what employers expect in their workers.

Basic Skills

  • Reading – Understanding technical and non technical information.
  • Writing – Good written communication skills to communicate information.
  • Mathematics – Problem solving skills, using technology to enter and retrieve information.
  • Speaking – Effective oral communication.
  • Listening – Retain and apply information..

People Skills

  • Social – Understanding, friendliness, teamwork.
  • Negotiation – Goals setting, goals and supporting and presenting their position.
  • Leadership – Encourage, manage, direct and demonstrate competency.
  • Teamwork – Communicate ideas and work with others to achieve projects or goals.
  • Cultural Diversity – Work with a variety of people.

Personal Qualities

  • Self Esteem – Understand other beliefs and change harmful ones.
  • Self Management – -Personal goals, monitor progress and evaluation.
  • Responsibility – Attendance, integrity, energy and positive attitude.

Thinking Skills

  • Creative Thinking – Imagination, producing new information or idea.
  • Problem Solving – Recognize problem, create and implement a solution and revise as needed.
  • Decision Making – Identify goals, generate alternatives and choose best one and execute choice.
  • Visualization – Strategic thinking or visualizing outcome.

Do you need to have all these skills?  No, but you need to learn them.  You may start out as an engineer, accountant or sales person.  Soft skills provide personal growth and increase productivity in your career.  Soft skills are important as technical or hard skills regardless the career or industry.  These are the skills required to acquire and retain a job.  These are also the skills that will get you fired!  Soft skills are sometimes called employability skills.

Final Thoughts

These are the skills that prepare you for a job.  Where do you learn these skills?  School, home and everywhere!  Team sports, clubs, student government and organizations teach and reinforce soft skills.  How do you learn to be responsible or honest?  Your parents help you learn these habits and you practice them in school.  Good attendance is an important habit that you practice in twelve to sixteen years of school.  Invest in yourself and learn these skills!  Many employers will ask to see your transcript to see your grades and your attendance too.  Your resume should include hard and soft skills because employers are looking for them.  It doesn’t stop there.  Include them in interviews and put them to use in th e workplace, social situations and personal life.  How are your soft skills?

Photo by:  Bunches and Bits

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Carnival of Financial Planning at Master the Art of Saving
Carnival of MoneyPros at Life Insurance by Jeff
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Carn. of Financial Camaraderie at My University Money

How are your soft skills?

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{ 32 comments }

Money Beagle December 13, 2012 at 4:45 am

I’ve stood out at multiple points in my career largely because of my ability to interact well with people. For years, I was a techie and knew a lot about computers, file servers, etc. What helped is that I had an ability to communicate well with people, where many of my counterparts did not. This helped me at many points in my various jobs.

Krantcents December 13, 2012 at 7:02 am

Effective communicative skills are very important in every role in business. I am surprised that it is not emphasized more.

Mandy @ MoneyMasterMom December 13, 2012 at 7:24 am

When I was hired 7 years ago my boss told me I was 1 of 600 applicants. I’m sure most had the same technical skills as I did. It was these soft skills that set me apart. Great Post.

Krantcents December 13, 2012 at 7:36 am

Thanks. Most people who are hired made a connection with the interviewer. The connection is usually made through their soft skills.

Derek @ Freeat33 December 13, 2012 at 7:26 am

My wife says I’m a great communicator, I don’t even need to use words. I’m told my sleeve says it all :)

Krantcents December 13, 2012 at 7:38 am

Is there a message on the sleeve? LOL! Most of us are much more transparent than we realize, particularly for the people who see us everyday.

John S @ Frugal Rules December 13, 2012 at 9:08 am

Soft skills are vital to get ahead in the workplace, especially as the market is so tight these days. No one is perfect, but being able to excel in many of these areas will really help you set yourself apart.

Krantcents December 13, 2012 at 11:39 am

They are essential! Most people will be fired for lack of soft skills.

The First Million is the Hardest December 13, 2012 at 9:48 am

Soft skills are so important in order to get ahead in almost any career. Any candidate can be hired and brought up to speed on the technical aspects of most jobs, what really separates people are these soft skills that can’t be taught as easily. It’s really something that not enough people bring up when talking about how to stand out from the crowd when trying to get a job or promotion.

Krantcents December 13, 2012 at 11:41 am

It all starts in the interview. You should try to include as many of your soft skills in the interview as possible. It is the best way to distinguish yourself from the other candidates.

Kathleen, Frugal Portland December 13, 2012 at 10:26 am

My soft skills are fine — it’s unfortunately my confidence that is lacking.

Krantcents December 13, 2012 at 11:44 am

The simple answer is work on it. Confidence comes from success and success in anything raises your self esteem. This is just one reason professional or Olympic athletes do well in business. The skills learned can be applied elsewhere.

Holly@ClubThrifty December 13, 2012 at 3:07 pm

I work in a mortuary and my people skills are almost more important than anything else that I do. I can fix small mistakes on paperwork, but you cannot fix it if you are insensitive to someone who lost a loved one. It is extremely important that I remain incredibly sensitive to my customer’s feelings and needs at all times.

Krantcents December 13, 2012 at 4:03 pm

I could never work with people who lost someone. I think it brings up memories of losing my parents. Soft skills are very important in everything you do. I can negotiate by just asking questions and get what I want. Most people feel very uncomfortable negotiating at all.

Terry December 13, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Excellent article!

One place that I learned to appreciate the value of soft skills was when I participated in “Toastmasters.” It’s a great organization to learn not only how to make speeches, but how to interact with people in a professional and supportive manner.

Krantcents December 13, 2012 at 4:33 pm

Some of the best ways too learn soft skills is team sports, clubs, organizations, friends, student government (any elected office) and relationships. All you need to do is learn from the experience.

Cil Burke December 13, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Soft skills are important. Without them, people can be so limited in how far their expertise can take them. As a nurse, I’ve worked with docs who just didn’t have it when communicating with their patients. Neurosurgeons go down in my book as the group with the worst soft skills and they need them even more than other speicalities.

Krantcents December 13, 2012 at 4:37 pm

Doctors are the only group of people that I will tolerate low soft skills if they have good technical skills. I usually use my wife who is an RN to run interference for me.

mbhunter December 13, 2012 at 8:58 pm

“Wouldn’t you like to work for Apple or Google?”
The latter, maybe. Possibly the former, now that Jobs is gone. Firing people because they wasted company time saying hello to him as they passed in the hall?! Oh, get over yourself …

Krantcents December 14, 2012 at 6:56 am

No company is perfect! When I worked for a Fortune 100 company, I was paid well, great benefits and I learned a lot. The downside was I had to relocate for many promotional opportunities.

Kim@Eyesonthedollar December 13, 2012 at 9:07 pm

We always hire office staff based on soft skills. You can train the rest, but you can’t train someone to interact with people in a positive way. I actually had a conversation about this very topic with another doctor today. If people spent as much time on soft skills as they spent on complaining about not getting hired for jobs, we would have much better applicant pools.

Krantcents December 14, 2012 at 6:58 am

The problem with soft skills is you do not know you don’t have them! You have to connect in an interview which is a personality trait.

Gillian @ Money After Graduation December 14, 2012 at 9:49 am

Mine are decent. Definitely better since going to University, but I am still a bit too terrified of doing presentations and not AS confident in interviews as I would like to be. But It keeps getting better.

Krantcents December 14, 2012 at 11:39 am

Soft skills are always a work in progress. You can never be an expert in everything. A little nervousness about presentations is good.. It shows you care about the outcome and it makes you practice more. Interviewing just takes practice.

Elizabeth @ Broke Professionals December 15, 2012 at 2:03 pm

You’ve got me thinking about my strongest “soft skill” – I think it’s always been my greatest weakness, too: perfectionism. My bosses love it, because they know I’d never turn in sub-par work. But at the same time, it can be my downfall, because it makes me rigid and sometimes stubborn.

Krantcents December 15, 2012 at 2:41 pm

High performance is not a bad thing! As a manager, I always had that go to person who would give me outstanding performance particularly at crunch time. It has to have a dose of reality though. Many people said Steve Jobs was a perfectionist!

Buck Inspire December 16, 2012 at 2:41 am

When I was younger, all I focused on was technical skills. I did ok, but didn’t really flourish until I finally acknowledged that soft skills were just as important or possibly more important than the technical. Can someone be successful if all they had were technical and no soft skills?

Krantcents December 16, 2012 at 10:55 am

Any body can learn technical skills! Technical skills are different for every career though. Soft skills include personality traits, responsible, dependable, work ethic, teamwork just to name a few. My wife’s boss (OB/GYN doctor) sometimes uses a a surgeon who has Asperger syndrome (significant social interaction difficulties) because he is great with cancer surgery. Unfortunately, he is extremely difficult to work with! The nurses and other support people hate to work with him. You can find very few people who can be successful despite their lack of soft skills, but those are the exception.

Felix Lee December 16, 2012 at 8:47 am

This is the first time I’ve heard of the term “soft skills.” But anyway, of course I think they’re important. Technical skills may get you the recognition, but soft skills get you the love and appreciation. I’m not perfect with the social skills but I keep trying to improve.

Krantcents December 16, 2012 at 10:58 am

When I was in industry, I remember a few people who were really good in technical skills and difficult to work with. For the most part, they were isolated so they could do what they were good at, but interacted very little with other people in the company. I see it as a limiting their career, but they found a niche for them.

AverageJoe December 18, 2012 at 11:59 am

In medical school, Cheryl went to a university that emphasized soft skills. I was glad to see a training program emphasize that….too many medical professionals have no idea how to transmit information to a patient in a way that makes it stick.

Krantcents December 18, 2012 at 12:34 pm

If you think about it, some one who is good at science and math is probably not people oriented. I see doctors are scientific detectives! They ask a lot of questions to rule out things. The ultimate Sherlock Holmes.

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